Last May, the Etsy community across the world began organising to protect net neutrality and stop the creation of so-called Internet fast lanes. More than 30,000 Etsy members contacted the United States Federal Communications Commission and Congress as part of the #InternetSlowDown day of action. Shop owners “crafted” comments to the FCC, urging them to protect the free and open Internet, and members of our global community joined the effort by spreading the word on social media. Etsy Admin also submitted formal comments, met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and participated in Federal Communications Commission roundtables.
In February, our combined efforts paid off when the FCC voted to establish rules that protect net neutrality, rejecting a proposal that would have allowed big companies to cut deals with broadband providers for faster Internet access, relegating everyone else to the “slow lane.” We made our case not by hiring an army of lobbyists or making political contributions, but by telling the real stories of Etsy sellers. “Our community is the source of our power,” Althea Erickson, director of public policy at Etsy, said in a New York Times article about the FCC’s decision.
We would like to thank Etsy sellers around the world for supporting the net neutrality cause and for everything you do on a daily basis to make our community special. Check out Victory in the Fight for Net Neutrality for more details. Then, read on for more news from the past month, including information about upcoming events, new site features and more.
New Features for Your Shop
This month, we launched new tools that help make running your shop (and managing Etsy Teams) easier.
- New Item Categories: In February, we launched new item categories that simplify the listing process for sellers and make it easier for shoppers to find exactly what they’re looking for. We gathered feedback from sellers when creating these new categories and will continue to incorporate your feedback into future versions. Share your thoughts here. Learn more about the new item categories here.
- New Listings Manager: Since the new Listings Manager tools were made available in early February, more than 150,000 shop owners have incorporated them into their daily workflow. Based on feedback from sellers, we’ve added new features, including an expanded description box to make writing longer descriptions easier and the ability to see your listing title while adding and editing tags. All sellers will start to see the new tools in the coming weeks. Learn more about the new listings manager here.
- Team Badges on Etsy Local: New badges let shoppers know when an Etsy Local event has been organized by a Team. Have an upcoming team event of your own? Tell us about your event using the this submission form and we’ll add the badge to the event on Etsy Local and the Community Calendar. See it an action on the event page for 5th Annual Indie Arts & Music festival organized by the Etsy Little Rock Team.
- Invite-Only Teams: We’re giving Team Captains more control over how they manage their teams. In the past, Captains could set their teams to Open and Moderated. Now, a team can be set to Closed and prospective team members will be able to join only if Team Captains or Leaders invite them.
- Shipping Upgrades for Mobile Shoppers: Buyers will now see the option to add Shipping Upgrades when checking out in the Buy on Etsy app on Android and iOS mobile devices.
Providing Small-Business Education, Online and In-Person
In-person educational events give you the chance to network with other creative entrepreneurs while learning skills you can use to improve your shop. Australian sellers recently came together at Apple stores in Brisbane and Melbourne to get tips from Bea Bellingham, founder of Things by Bea, and Kirsten Devitt, founder of Each To Own. They also learned how to use Apple tools, including iPhoto and Pages, to edit shop photography and create marketing materials.
We also offer business education and inspiration for Etsy sellers throughout the year in our Online Labs webinar series. In the past month, we held an “Intro to Keywords” webinar and a webinar about our new approach to categories on Etsy. Both sessions included a live demonstration, followed by a question and answer session with sellers.
Supporting Community Leaders
We’re always looking for ways to support leaders of the Etsy community. One way we support Team Captains and Leaders internationally is through regional Team Captains’ Summits. In February, Canadian Team Captains and Leaders gathered at a Captains’ Summit in Toronto to help plan this year’s Made in Canada events. At the UK Captains’ Summit, slated for late March, and the German Captains’ Summit in April, Captains and Leaders will attend workshops and presentations, and learn from fellow sellers. Learn more about the German Captains’ summit and how German sellers can apply. If you’re interested in joining a Team, check out our Etsy Teams page. Learn more about becoming a Team Captain in this FAQ.
Meet a Maker for Coffee
Etsy has partnered with Ten Thousand Coffees, a Toronto-based website that connects people with similar interests, to offer aspiring makers the opportunity to network with industry leaders, including Etsy shop owners Jesse Herbert of Oopsmark and textile designer Avril Loreti. Through the site, small-business owners can request to meet with experts in Canada, either in-person or online. Learn more at Ten Thousand Coffees.
Connecting Buyers and Sellers Offline
Local Teams organized selling events in cities around the world in February. The Etsy Dresden Street Team in Germany ran an Etsy Kids booth at Handmadde Markt Dresden, which featured colorful kids clothes from Annett Winkleman’s shop internaht, stuffed toys and art prints from Anja Pilzner’s shop Jungs & Söehne, printed bags from Jana Temmers’ shop ambaZamba and more. Team Nantes, based in Nantes, France, organized a weekend pop-up shop in collaboration with local boutique Minus. Products being offered included infant clothing from ZABO, original jewelry by Helene of Sailor & Irma and cards and prints from Marion of Papier Machine.
Applications are now open for the upcoming Manmade event, which will take place on June 12-13 at Truman Brewery in London, England. Hosted in partnership with Crafty Fox Market and Mr Wingate, the event will showcase the work of male makers. Just in time for Father’s Day, Manmade will include a marketplace, visual art area, talks by inspirational designers, making workshops, craft demonstrations, bar, food, DJs and general merriment. To be eligible to sell at Manmade, you must be a male Etsy shop owner based in the UK. See all the application requirements and apply today.
Etsy Designers at the American Museum of Natural History
Etsy Wholesale is partnering with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City to bring distinctive, handmade items from talented Etsy sellers into the Museum’s gift shop. Twenty-two Etsy Wholesale designers are featured in the shop, which showcases a range of items, from personal accessories to bath and body care to natural history-themed goods. Seven of the 22 designers were also chosen to create one-of-a-kind items for the assortment and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum’s collections for inspiration. These products, along with the full assortment, are being sold in a dedicated Etsy section of the gift shop, as well as online.
Quit Your Day Job Story Becomes New York Times Bestseller
Feeling burnt out by her corporate job as an advertising copywriter, Etsy shop owner Janice MacLeod decided to take her future into her own hands, saving up until she could quit her job and travel to Europe. She started her Etsy shop, The Paris Letters, in 2010 as an outlet to sell her watercolor paintings and, by 2012, she’d landed upon a new idea: illustrated letters about her life in Paris to share with people all over the world.
Janice’s shop was helping to pay for incidentals, like wine and cheese in Paris, but after being featured in the Seller Handbook’s Quit Your Day Job column in 2013, things started to accelerate. “Now I was able to pay for the fancier cheeses and wines in Paris,” Janice says. The growth in her Etsy shop also helped Janice convince a book publisher that her idea — and brand — would resonate with readers.“Being able to show the positive trajectory of my Etsy stats to literary agents helped me score the perfect agent for my needs, which led to scoring the perfect publisher for my book.” Janice’s book, “Paris Letters” was published in February 2014 and this month made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list at #7 among travel titles.
Etsy Admin Come to You
The Seller Studio Visit program brings Etsy Admin into the homes and workspaces of shop owners, giving us more insight into how you manage your businesses and use Etsy’s tools. In February, we visited two sellers in San Francisco, near Etsy’s West Coast office. Our first visit was to the studio of Julian and Desirée Goldklang, who sell vintage Danish modern and English mid-century furniture in their Etsy shop MidCenturyMobler. The couple flies to Scandinavia and England four times a year, warehousing and shipping original design pieces that are hand-picked for their shop.
We also visited Gillian Griffiths, who runs her Etsy shop, Gold Adore, from her home. Gillian holds a degree in Gemology and worked for a jeweler before opening up her own Etsy shop selling vintage jewelry. Thanks to the sellers who opened their doors to us this month! Interested in having us visit your studio? Send an email to SellerStudioVisits@etsy.com.
Tell Us Your Community Story
This is just a sampling of recent community news. Do you have an inspiring story about the Etsy community? Please share in the comments below!
Kimm Alfonso manages Etsy’s Seller Development teams, which create educational content to help sellers succeed at all stages of their business development. She was a Team Captain for years before joining Etsy and runs Kimmchi, the T-shirt shop she founded in 2007.